5 Reasons to Hire a Documentary Photographer for Your Next Family Pictures • ErinBird Photography

October 9, 2016

5 Reasons to Hire a Documentary Photographer for Your Next Family Pictures

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Photography is constantly evolving, especially family photography.  There were years and years of studio settings with boring or fake backdrops; Then everyone went outside for “on location” family pictures in the middle of some field; And currently, lifestyle photography is popular, which attempts to show real life situations, but with a very posed and commercial feel to them.  Family photographers usually change with these tides (myself included) and try their best to keep up with the latest trend.

I’ve recently fallen in love with family photojournalism or family documentary photography.  It’s real life…like for real, real life.  I spend a day with a family and photograph their everyday: the good, the bad, the ugly…the hilarious, the sweet, and the chaos.  This is a new idea to most people and honestly can be a little scary.  But read below to find the top 5 reasons you should consider hiring a documentary photographer for your next family session:

#1  You will have actual “Moments” for memories

The average family pictures don’t reveal much as far as memories.  Most professional images only help families recall their appearance at a particular time and how horrible their fake smile was.  Family documentary photography, though captures the best childhood memories, some that would have been forgotten if not preserved by someone’s lens.  A lot of little details are captured, too.  Like how your son insisted on wearing the same shirt everyday or how mom always brushed his bangs with her fingers.  Think of 2 or 3 of your favorite memories as a child….do you have any pictures of them?


#2 You will actually be in pictures WITH your children

Parenthood often inspires the photographer in all of us.  The problem is, when we’re behind the camera, we don’t get to be in any of those memories with our kids when we look back.  Even with the selfie, there’s usually no interaction between parent and child.  Exchanges of affection are always photographic gold, but my favorites are the not so glamorous moments like that “mom look” when you’re in trouble or the comfort a parent provides a crying little one.  I wish I would’ve had someone take these types of photos of me and my kids.  I just know when they go and look back at the family photo album, they’re gonna swear they raised themselves. 🙂




#3 This is hands down the easiest family photo shoot for everyone (kids and husbands/dads included)

A family documentary photography session is so easy, you don’t even have to schedule it.  Well I mean, you should coordinate the day with your photographer, but seriously, it can be any day!  No special clothing, no special activity to plan, and no location to scout.  I’ve had clients worry that their life is too boring to document.  I’ve never had a problem making interesting, funny, precious images of any family yet.  Your everyday life is enough!  It’s worth capturing because it’s your family!  You have some grocery shopping to do that day?  Maybe a gymnastics class for Sarah?  Guess who’s coming with you? – your family documentary photographer.




#4 Your family pictures will be unique and unlike anyone else’s

Sometimes scrolling down Instagram or Facebook can get monotonous.  When photography trends catch on, everyone’s family pictures end up looking very similar.  With the documentary trend, your family would be pretty hard to duplicate.  Everything from location to types of activity will be completely different from anyone’s.  Even if you’re doing similar activities say, cooking breakfast, no one does it exactly like your family.  Family documentary photo sessions yield the most individual images that can’t be reproduced by any other family or photographer.  So basically, your images will stand out on social media in a sea of families standing in fields 😉




#5 And finally, I’m just gonna say it…..Blackmail

You know how your parents tell you what a terror you were when you were little?  Or maybe they tell your kids embarrassing stories about how you used to run around in nothing but your underwear all day.  Well at least they don’t have pictures to back it up…but you can!  Imagine years from now, showing your future son-in-law how spoiled your daughter really is. Or showing your grandchildren the tantrums their dad use to throw.  I’m already putting together my kids’ high school graduation party slideshow, complete with hours of footage of them being…well, being kids.  Deciding what to edit out will be the hardest part!





Written by Erin of ErinBird Photography

View our family documentary photography page to learn more!



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